Is Copying Acceptable in Product Development? What to Tell our Students?
When we were in first grade, we learned to write letters and words by coping the alphabet from the board onto lined tablets. The better we copied the higher the praise we received. The pedagogy of copying continues into college. According to student feedback, after encouraging copying in early product development classes, we suddenly ask for originality. To bring academic perspective to this, we investigated our university's policy on plagiarism and other legal definitions as well as sought industry input. With our findings, we are now frank in class discussions about when copying is correctly used and when copying is wrong, as when the purpose is to represent someone's work as your own. After class discussions, our students are more aware of copying issues and are more open to being creative when needed and to use copying when appropriate.